“My immigrant grandparents and American-born parents often served delicious eggplant and lamb dishes at our dinners in 1950s New Jersey,” says Robyn Kalajian. “Some of our family’s traditional recipes featured only eggplant, and in others, lamb was the star. On occasion, both ingredients ended up in the same pot. When I spoke with my sister recently, we discussed our first introductions to Beyli Baghli or Imam Bayıldı, stuffed eggplant dishes. My sister recalled the first time she tasted this concoction was when her Armenian mother-in-law, originally from Bursa, Turkey, prepared it.”
Note: This recipe can be converted to please vegetarians. First, omit the meat. Once eggplants have baked, carefully scoop out the pulp and chop it. Sauté your favorite vegetables – peppers, squash, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, etc., and cook them along with the onions and seasonings. Add chopped eggplant and cook a little longer. Spoon mixture into eggplant shells, and follow the rest of the recipe.
Lamb-Stuffed Baked Eggplant (Beyli Baghli)
2 large eggplants (4 smaller eggplants can be substituted), cut in half lengthwise, stem trimmed